As we age, so do our joints - and for active, middle age adults, that can keep you from continuing to lead a healthy lifestyle. Now, there is an alternative to total joint replacement and Dr. Nathan Cohen, an orthopaedic surgeon with Lake Charles Memorial's Orthopaedic Specialists, is the second doctor in the world who first performed the procedure.
50-year-old Beverly Nolen loves to bike each day with her daughter and grandchild, but a constant pain in her right knee brought that to a halt. "Bone on bone," she said, "it just felt uncomfortable and constant."
Beverly brought her concerns to Dr. Cohen, who wanted to avoid a total knee replacement because of her age and activity level. "People that are 60 years or 70 years of age, on up, it's not as big of an issue to go ahead and put a knee replacement in," said Dr. Cohen, "for younger people, it's much more concerning and they oftentimes need some specialized type of surgery."
That specialized surgery, called arthrosurface, is something Dr. Cohen helped launch in the United States. "We resurfaced the affected knee compartment and place metal components there, then on the opposing surface, there's a piece of plastic on the back of the knee cap," said Dr. Cohen.
Traditional knee replacements replace this entire knee joint, but the arthrosurface simply involves a metal cap and piece of plastic - keeping the joint in place, which is ideal for active adults.
Beverly's joint now moves smooth surface to smooth surface, rather than bone on bone. That has stopped her arthritis and taken away the pain. "If they have only localized arthritis in one area, this may be enough to stop the progression of the arthritis to the whole knee joint," said Dr. Cohen.
There is one word for how Beverly feels today. "Fantastic!" she said.
Beverly says she is thrilled to be back to the activities and people she loves. "I can play with the grand kids, I can do things that I didn't want to do before," she said. "Things are much better."
Beverly was back to work after three weeks and back to biking within a couple of months.
The arthrosurface procedure can be done on the hips, shoulders and knees. The best candidates are active adults ages 40 to 60 with localized arthritis.